How To Choose The Most Fulfilling & Promising Career Path For You
By MaiLinh Ho | Published September 7, 2023
Not until we are lost, do we begin to understand ourselves.
- Henry David Thoreau
If you’re feeling lost or unsure about what comes next for you, you might be exactly where you need to be. Societal, familial, or personal pressure and expectations can prevent you from heading down the right path but true happiness and success can come from the path you choose, as long as you keep on figuring it out.
Deciding on your career path is one of the most important decisions you’ll make, and we have conducted extensive research and tested this framework with both high school and college students.
One of our students, Nick, did not know what he wanted to do. As a 9th grader, Nick enjoys playing video games but did not know how to translate his interests to a future career path. After following our 3-step framework and receiving personalized mentorship, he decided to explore AR/VR development (the tech behind his video games), landed a Virtual World Building internship, and got offered a paid, part-time job to continue building virtual worlds for the company. His early success made him feel proud and fulfilled, pushing him to be more confident, positive, and motivated about school and his future.
3 Steps To Choosing The Right Career Path For You
Your personal career path can be determined based on a self-assessment of your skills, interests, hobbies, and values to lay the foundation of your career. Knowing this can give you clear next steps, increase your self-motivation and productivity, as well as determine the right school to go to, major to choose, and employers to work with!
1. Self-identify your Ikigai
Okinawa in Japan is home to some of the longest-lived and happiest people - one of the 5 blue zones on Earth. One of the things Okinawans attribute to longer and happier lives is the Japanese concept of Ikigai (ee-kee-gai), a “reason for being” a.k.a “purpose”.
Ikigai may sound like an abstract concept, but it’s pretty straightforward!
Have you ever had your friends or family tell you that you should just follow what you love? Most of us had.
That’s only part of it. If you aren’t good at it or can’t be paid for it, then it can easily become discouraging or unrealistic.
👉 How to find your Ikigai:
Take 8 minutes to make a list of:
Skills you’re good at
Your interests (subjects you desire to learn more about)
Your hobbies (actively participating activity)
Things that matter most to you (love, value)
What you believe the world needs more of
Review your responses to take notes of patterns that you notice and other things that stand out. You will get the most out of this exercise if you deeply self-reflect and talk to someone you trust like a friend or relative about your thoughts!
2. Take the personality & career assessment
Our student fan favorite assessment is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The MBTI is a comprehensive assessment of your personality, strengths, suitable careers, and preferences. Today, it is one of the world’s most widely used and proven psychological tools.
👉 Take it here and make sure you read the results in the “Career Paths” tab!
Remember that no type is better or worse than the other. Everyone is unique and that’s how the world works.
Source: 16 Personalities
3. Research the top Careers of the Future
Now that you have a better, more refined idea of your suitable career paths, let’s align it with where the world is heading. Get ready to explore the possibilities that can fit your interests!
👉 How to research Careers of the Future:
Access our Careers of the Future Report here and reflect on which sector you are most interested in (technology, healthcare, business, or something else!)
Conduct research into the roles (may or may not be from the report - utilize Google or ChatGPT to help) that you’re interested in to learn more about:
What does someone in this career path do (responsibilities, day-to-day tasks)
The possible post-secondary plan for this career path (schooling/training, career progression)
The salary range and average for this career path
How to Validate Your Choice
After your research, you should be able to narrow down your options and choose one career path to explore. That is now the hypothesis you have, and you have to actually explore it by doing. This means experiencing what it’s like to work in the career you’re interested in. Your choice does not move you forward if you don’t take action.
For example, you might be interested in business because you like leadership and want to start your own business later on. You’re also good at collaborating with others, passionate about technology’s power to change the world, and desire a career that allows you to be remote and pays you well. You look into product management and it seems like an interesting choice because it’s not too technical and allows you to work with a diverse group of people. Now you’re ready to seek career opportunities to help you develop these skills and see if business is a good fit!
Search for career opportunities that will help you build new, in-demand skills and move you forward on your path to finding out what you’re meant to do. It might be getting an internship or job to gain real-world experience in your area of interest. You can conduct research or compete in a competition to help you deepen your understanding of the subject. Even volunteering or leading a student organization to advocate for your passion will help you gain practical insights.
Whatever you decide, make sure that it aligns with what you discovered from the exercises above and fits with your availability and any desired compensation.
Let us help
All of us can benefit from guidance and mentorship throughout this process. You might have tried doing this on your own but one-on-one mentorship could be what you need right now to figure it out. Career exploration and internships may be demanding, but our personalized approach makes it easy to integrate them with your busy schedule and get ahead.
If you cannot see where you are going, ask someone who has been there before.
- J. Loren Norris
Our dedicated mentors are experts at helping you figure out the right path for you and help you land your dream career opportunities to accelerate your success in school, career, and life.